Ntcheu — Senior Chief Makwangwala of Ntcheu has asked the district council to formulate tough bylaws that can help protect the environment.
Speaking during a full council meeting on Monday, Makwangwala said Ntcheu has not been spared from environmental degradation characterised by depletion of forests and other natural resources.
"Cutting down of trees for farming activities and charcoal making are some of the factors that have led to destruction of our forests, leaving the land bare.
"As I am speaking, I am disappointed to see that charcoal making and selling has become a big business in Ntcheu.
"I would, therefore, like to urge the council to formulate tough laws that will help protect our environment," he said.
Makwangwala cited Senzani and Kampepuza as the main markets where charcoal is sold in abundance.
He said the council should put deliberate measures like imposing tough penalties on illegal charcoal makers as well as encroachers to save the district's remaining forests.
District Forestry Officer Donnex Mtambo said in an interview that the department has put in place several measures aimed at restoring the depleted forests in the district.
He said this year alone, the department will plant 1.8 million trees and planting is in progress.
"We are working together with communities that signed agreements with government to conserve forests through management plans that were developed by the communities with guidance from supporting partners like United Purpose (UP)," he said.